Ok, so you are probably wondering why on earth am I posting stollen in February? This month, the What’s Baking group that I am a part of chose bread. When the theme was picked, I was still in the mode of Christmas baking so I ended up making stollen and I just waited to post it. I know, it’s a little weird but I like this type of bread any time. Make sure you visit this month’s host, Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks , who will share all of the different breads that people made for this month.
Stollen can be as varied as can be, this version is fairly traditional, with a mix of dried and candied fruit, and almonds. This one doesn’t contain a lot of spices, but I’ve had stollen with spices and it’s very nice too. You can use any fruit that you want, as long as the quantities add up. I don’t usually have a lot of candied fruit on hand, usually just a little bit of candied lemon peel, so I usually just add more dried fruit to compensate. I think a little candied fruit can go a long way, and don’t use that horribly artificially colored candied fruit. It’s awful.
This makes two loaves, and the loaves are pretty huge! I don’t think that stollen is hard to make, but it does take a lot of time. The hardest thing in making stollen is when you are kneading the dough, all the nuts and fruits want to escape so it seemed like I was constantly adding those bits back to the dough! I know this isn’t a very seasonal recipe, but it’s one worth saving!
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup dried currants
3/4 cup apple juice
4-1/2 to 5 cups flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds
In a large bowl, soak raisins, fruit and currants in apple juice for 1 hour to rehydrate; drain and set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter to 120 degrees. Pour the warmed milk into the bowl with dry ingredients. Beat on medium until mixed. Add the eggs, orange and lemon zest and almond extract; beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped almonds, rehydrated fruit mixture and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. You might not need all 5 cups flour.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, shape each half of dough into a 12” x 8” oval. Fold one of the long sides over to within 1 in. of the opposite side; press edges lightly to seal. Place on the baking sheets. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Recipe from Taste of Home